Date of Award
Master of Social Work (MSW)
There are times during a person's adult life that one may require the services of a social worker. The journey through the social services system is often arduous and tedious for clients trying to navigate their way. This experience gets complicated when it is a social worker who requires social work services.
What do we do when we, as professionals, find ourselves requiring those very services that we support or within which we work? How supportive is our system for social workers who require social work services? How does the experience of being a client influence and shape our own practise?
This study endeavours to untangle the positions of social workers as clients within the social services system. In broadening our understanding of how these social workers have chosen to situate themselves in the discourse, we explore how they engaged with these various systems as clients and then journeyed back into the professional realm as social workers. This work includes data collected via online anonymous questionnaires as well as confidential personal interviews exploring social workers own accounts of their experiences when navigating the social services system.
I examine how this experience impacts social workers on a personal and professional level. Expectations and typical ways of practising are deconstructed when social workers tell their stories of being on the other side of the desk, including look at how our profession supports colleagues or classmates who require services within the social services system.
Encouraging our own clients to seek out services or to be comfortable with the process is often part of our professional discourse. However, when the tables are turned and it is a social worker who requires services, the experience and support they receive as a professionally informed client leaves much room for further study, and has implications for social work education.
Obendorfer, Amy Christine, "Social Workers as Clients: Navigating and Situating Our Experiences as Insiders and Outsiders" (2010). Open Access Dissertations and Theses. Paper 4323.
McMaster University Library